22.3 Travel Expense and Reimbursement

(11/01; amended 1/02; 1/03; 9/1/05; 1/06; 1/07; 2/07; 2/08; 8/08; 2/09; 8/09; 1/10; 7/10; 1/11; 5/11; 6/13; 10/18; 8/24/22)
  1. General. Travel expenses must be itemized on an official travel expense voucher (for out-of-pocket expenses) or procurement card voucher (for expenses charged to a UI procurement card). By approving the voucher, the traveler signifies the expenses are actual costs incurred, allowable by policy, and will not be reimbursed from any other funding source or claimed as a tax deduction. Departmental approval indicates that all expenses and receipts have been reviewed and comply with the travel policy. By approving the expenses, the traveler's supervisor and the department have verified that these expenses have been incurred as university business and that they have been reviewed and approved by the appropriate individual who has been designated approval authority for this department and/or funding source. As a designated departmental approver of expenses incurred in the name of the University of Iowa via this form, the approver understands that they are accepting a fiduciary responsibility to comply with all applicable institutional policies. It is their responsibility to examine all expenses and the required supporting documentation, to determine if the charge is for a valid business purpose and for the university's benefit. The department may not approve expenditures that are outside the established university travel regulations. In special circumstances, where exception to policy is deemed essential, a written request with explanation must be submitted to the Director of Purchasing and approval must be received prior to the expense being incurred.
  2. Travel expense vouchers (TEVs) must be submitted within 120 days of trip end date. Travel expenses reimbursed after 120 days will be taxable to the employee.
  3. Individuals not on university-related business may accompany, at their own expense, an individual traveling on university-related business except when the method of transportation is a university-owned vehicle (see V-19 Motor Pool).
  4. Receipts. Receipts for airfare, rental car, train, hotel, and conference fees and any other single expense of $75 or more must be scanned and attached to the TEV. Original receipts must be retained by the department until the TEV has been approved by the Travel Department and posted to the General Ledger.

    Generic receipts, which are any receipts that do not have a preprinted or stamped conference/hotel/vendor name, are not an acceptable proof of payment. If a generic receipt is the only receipt available, the following additional documentation will be required: 1) canceled check front and back, or 2) copy of check and bank statement (information unrelated to this transaction may be redacted), or 3) credit card statement (the credit card number should be redacted).
  5. Travel reimbursements are sent via direct deposit to employees whose payroll checks are direct deposited. These payments are separate payments from the payroll process. Travelers may elect to have payments sent to a different account than their payroll or to stop direct deposits by completing the direct deposit form at Employee Self Service. Where direct deposit is not an option, checks are sent to the traveler's home address provided by the department.
  6. Transportation.
    1. Commercial air travel. Commercial air travel should be by common carrier. Reimbursement is allowed for round-trip coach-class fare. Travelers are expected to obtain the lowest available fare that reasonably meets their business travel needs.

      To obtain the lowest fare, tickets should be purchased at least 14–21 days in advance of travel whenever possible. However, due to the cancellation penalties imposed by the airlines on almost all reduced rate tickets, travelers should try to balance the need for savings generated by advance purchase with the knowledge that travel arrangements cannot be changed without significant penalty.

      Receipt. The original ticket/receipt or electronic itinerary with the proof of payment is always required for reimbursement. When a ticket is exchanged, the original ticket, the exchange (new) ticket, and the Refund/Exchange Notice must all be submitted with the travel voucher. Justification for the exchange or cancellation must be provided on the TEV.

      First or business class. First- or business-class charges are allowed only for documented medical reasons, contractual agreements (i.e., speaker), or in situations approved in advance by the Travel Department. A satisfactory explanation must be included with the TEV and approved by the Travel Department before reimbursement will be made.
    2. Charter air travel. Charter air travel may be authorized by the appropriate dean or administrative officer when it is in the best interest of the university. Decisions should be based on savings to the university, taking into consideration transportation costs, lodging and related expenses, and time. Situations where charter air would be considered reasonable include, but are not limited to, the following: After authorization has been received, arrangements for the charter service should be made with a licensed flying service. The flying service is to send the billing for services to the person making arrangements for the charter flight. Submit vendor payment on a non-services e-voucher with the names of each traveler included in the comments.

      When night flights are involved, only two-engine airplanes may be chartered.
      1. Where travel by commercial air is not feasible and/or where significant time savings could be realized by flying charter air.
      2. When travel by commercial means would result in such a late return that working a full day the following day would be impractical or unreasonable.
      3. Where a group of university faculty, staff, or students is traveling to the same destination and significant cost savings can be realized.
      4. To locations not served by commercial air.
      5. When there is a time emergency and it is determined that an off-campus appearance or assignment is required and of obvious benefit to the university and cannot be achieved by any other reasonable travel plan.
    3. Personal automobile. Any person authorized to travel on university business may choose to use their personal automobile, but does so at their own risk and is personally responsible for all costs of operation, including repairs to the automobile, access charges for lost keys, parking fines or missed toll charges, and for public liability and property damage.

      Mileage reimbursement will be made to the owner of the vehicle only, based on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) mileage rate, which constitutes the primary rate. The primary rate will be used as stated in paragraph (a) below. The secondary rate (calculated at 50 percent of the primary rate) will be used under all other circumstances. The actual mileage driven (shortest or most convenient route directly to and from business destination) must be stated in the description column of the TEV. Mileage is calculated from home or business, whichever is shorter, to the destination. Mileage over this maximum is taxable per the IRS.
      1. In any of the following circumstances the primary mileage rate may be claimed:
        1. The round-trip distance traveled is less than 100 miles;
        2. The round-trip distance is more than 100 miles and a motor pool vehicle is requested, but is not available;
        3. Use of a motor pool vehicle is not possible or not feasible (i.e., faculty or staff members are located in an area not served by campus motor pools); or
        4. Round-trip travel to/from designated airports is greater than 100 miles and the lower airfare cost justifies use of the designated airport. Designated airports are Moline and Des Moines.
      2. Meals and lodging en route are allowed if one of the following conditions is met:
        1. Two or more persons are taking the same trip at university expense;
        2. There is no adequate common carrier between points of travel;
        3. It is necessary to transport delicate instruments or excessively bulky material not readily adapted to common carrier transportation;
        4. There is a justifiable time emergency; or
        5. When savings to the department can be demonstrated (see example below) and time away from work for driving has been appropriately approved. Meals, mileage, and hotel costs must be compared to a round-trip coach airfare ticket purchased two weeks in advance of the trip plus ground transportation to and from airports. An official airfare quote from a travel agency must be attached to the travel voucher.

          Example, case (v):

          Oklahoma City, OK, 1362 miles @ $.25                                         $ 340.50
          Hotel one night each way @ $ 50.00                                                  100.00
          Meals en route lunch and dinner — 2 @ $12 + 2 @ $20               64.00
          Total                                                                                                           $  504.50 (a)
          Travel agency airfare quote                                                                   624.00
          Ground transportation to and from airports                                  50.00
          Total                                                                                                            $ 674.00 (b)
          Savings to the department (b minus a)                                         $ 169.50
      3. If none of these conditions are met, reimbursement will be the lower of:
        1. Mileage reimbursement alone (meals and lodging are not allowable); or
        2. Round-trip coach-class plane fare plus ground transportation to and from airports.
      4. Moving mileage, meal, and hotel costs:
        1. Mileage is limited to the IRS rate for moving expenses; and
        2. Meals and hotel expenses are allowed, but all meals are taxable and hotel expenses in town for more than one day are taxable to the employee.
    4. Private aircraft. The university permits, but does not require, travel on aircraft that is personally/privately owned by a university traveler or employee. The university does not evaluate or affirm the credentials or skills of any individual pilot, ascertain the airworthiness of any plane, or affirm the safety of personal/private aircraft operation. Travelers are solely responsible for their decision to use a personally owned or privately leased/rented aircraft to travel. Travelers may wish to confer with their personal insurance representative prior to travel.
      1. Requirements. Any person authorized to travel at university expense and who intends to use/pilot a personally owned or privately leased aircraft for transportation while on approved university business must meet certain conditions and submit specific information. The conditions are:
        1. Traveler must be a licensed/certified pilot.
        2. Passenger travel must be optional. Alternative modes of travel must be available without adverse consequences that would unduly influence the decision to travel by private aircraft. All travelers in the private aircraft must be at least 18 years old and must provide a signed Release of Liability.
        3. Purpose of travel — The purpose of the travel must be within the scope of employment.
        4. Savings — Cost savings or time savings must be realized, or there must be no adequate common carrier to point of travel.

           In addition, the following information must be on file with the Departments of Risk Management, Insurance, and Loss Prevention and Travel prior to travel:
        5. Completed Aircraft Information Form (available from Risk Management).
        6. Certificate of insurance. Insurance coverage in the amounts designated below must be maintained. The University of Iowa, the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, and the State of Iowa must be named as additional insured on the aircraft liability insurance. The policy must provide no less than 30 days notice of cancellation and must include waiver of subrogation for covered claims. The following limits apply:
          1. 5-seat capacity or less — $1,000,000/occurrence, with no per-seat limit.
          2. 6- to 8-seat capacity — $2,000,000/occurrence, with a minimum of $300,000 per-seat limit.
          3. 9-seat or greater — $3,000,000/occurrence, with a minimum of $300,000 per-seat limit.
        7. Release of Liability form for each university employee and passenger.
      2. Reimbursement. University travel reimbursement shall be at the following rates: The traveler who uses a personally owned or privately leased aircraft is responsible for payment of all costs of operation, including licenses, fees, FAA certificates, fines, rental charges, storage costs, fuel, repair costs, and aircraft and passenger liability insurance.

        The cost of the expense must be split among all university employees using the split expense functionality within ProTrav.
        1. Personally owned aircraft. Mileage rate is based on the General Services Administrative (GSA) rate for airplanes. Reimbursement may not exceed cost of coach class commercial airfare to the nearest airport and ground transportation to and from business destination. Reimbursement includes all costs of operation, landing fees, fuel, etc. These costs may not be claimed in addition to the mileage reimbursement.
        2. Private leased aircraft. Actual documented cost of rental, fuel, airport landing fees. Total reimbursement may not exceed the cost of coach class commercial airfare to the nearest airport and ground transportation to and from business destination.
      3. Liability. The university travel reimbursement rate above includes a provision for expenses, including insurance, in the mileage rate calculation. Therefore, in the event of an accident, the traveler who pilots a personally owned or privately leased aircraft must rely on their own personal aircraft liability insurance policy as the primary liability coverage.

        The university is not responsible for personal injury or damage for individuals who choose to travel in a privately owned or leased aircraft. In the event of accident, injury, or damage, travelers must look to the responsible party, i.e., the pilot and/or the owner of the aircraft or their insurance, for recourse.
    5. University-owned automobiles. See V-19 Fleet Services. Travelers using Fleet Services vehicles must state such and list all university employees who shared the vehicle on each individual TEV.
    6. Vehicle rental. University employees are expected to secure rentals from the university-contracted vendor (see paragraph (a) below). Reasonable rental charges for standard/midsize vehicles are allowed. Additional charges for upgrades are not allowed unless there is a reasonable business purpose. A justification for the upgrade must be provided on the TEV.

      The itemized receipt from the car rental agency must be submitted. Gasoline costs not included on the rental agency invoice may also be claimed for reasonable business usage. If the rental included includes any personal days, the total cost should be divided by the number of total rental days and then multiplied by the number of business days.

      Collision and/or physical damage is covered under the university's self insurance program. Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) or Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) should not be purchased for business rentals. Insurance coverage for personal effects (PAI), credit cards (PEC), or health/life insurance, etc., is not reimbursable.
      1. Rentals from contracted vendor. The university has a contract with a vehicle rental agency, and employees are expected to use this contract in order to obtain sufficient insurance coverage. No additional insurance should be purchased and may not be reimbursed.
      2. Rentals from non-contracted vendor. See V-15.4 Auto Insurance for Risk Management's policy on potential, additional liability costs.
        1. Travelers who must use another car rental provider in locations where the contracted vendor does not supply should verify that basic liability insurance is included in the rental. If liability is not provided, basic liability coverage insurance should be purchased and is an allowable expense.
        2. When travelers choose to use another car rental provider where the contracted vendor is available, basic liability coverage must be included in the rental or purchased at the traveler's expense.
      3. Car storage and parking. Itemize by date and attach receipts for storage to the voucher. Charges for car storage and parking are allowed only when mileage reimbursement for a personal car or rental automobile is allowed, or when a university-owned car is used.
    7. Taxi. Actual, reasonable taxi, shuttle, or other local transportation costs are allowable expenses. Itemize by date and indicate points of travel in the description.
    8. Tolls. Bridge or road tolls are allowable items of expense.
    9. Rail travel. Standard coach class seating is allowable. Sleeper accommodations are allowed only when there is a demonstrated cost savings compared to coach class air travel, or when justified as essential on the travel voucher. Claim rail expense in the Transportation column and attach original passenger receipt.
  7. Lodging.
    1. General. Attach the itemized hotel/motel bill/folio to the voucher. Lodging reimbursement is limited to the actual/reasonable cost of a single room plus applicable taxes. Travelers are expected to seek standard, reasonable lodging accommodations that are comfortable, convenient, meet the business need, and offer good value. Travelers are encouraged to ask for the discounted rate when making reservations (i.e., the government/educational/corporate rate). Lodging rates set by federal regulations will be used as a guide in determining whether a cost is reasonable. These rates are reviewed and amended periodically and are available on the Travel web page.
    2. Maximum allowances:
      1. If the hotel is the site of the conference, reimbursement will be the actual cost of a standard single room plus tax. A hotel qualifies as a conference site when the conference or related events are held within that hotel or it is designated as the headquarters hotel. Documentation listing the hotel as the conference site must be attached to the voucher and the appropriate box checked on the voucher. The least expensive room should be selected for full reimbursement. If not available, please provide documentation that the selected room was no longer available.
      2. If the hotel is not the site of the conference, but the cost is equal to or less expensive than the conference site hotel, the actual cost plus tax will be reimbursed when documentation showing the cost of the conference site hotel is provided.
      3. If neither (a) nor (b) applies, reasonable hotel accommodations will be reimbursed. The university reserves the right to determine what is a reasonable amount. A reasonable amount for non-conference hotel costs may be the maximum of the Federal Travel Directory (FTD) hotel per diem rate for that city. The FTD maximums can be located at https://ap-purchasing.fo.uiowa.edu/travel/domestic-travel. For international travel, reimbursement is limited to the federal government lodging maximum. International rates are available at the U.S. Department of State website at http://aoprals.state.gov/web920/per_diem.asp.
    3. Shared hotel. If sharing the room with another person (or persons), please indicate on the voucher whether the person(s) traveled on university-related business.
      1. If sharing with another university employee on university-related business, the cost of the hotel expense must be split between the travelers using the split expense functionality within ProTrav.
      2. If sharing with a colleague(s) from another institution, only the portion for the UI employee will be reimbursed.
      3. If sharing with a person(s) who is not on university-related business, reimbursement will be limited to the single room rate or 75 percent of the double room charge. If claiming the single room rate, clear documentation of the single room rate must be provided. Acceptable documentation includes official housing information from conference materials or official verification of the single room rate provided by the hotel, on hotel letterhead.
  8. Meals.
    1. Meal per diem in travel status. Per diem meal allowance cannot exceed the maximum daily allowance (see h(2) below). Meal tips and snacks are only allowed up to the maximum daily per diem. Alcohol is not a reimbursable expense. "Travel status" is defined as the time the traveler leaves their home or office (whichever is closest) until the time the traveler returns to their home or office (whichever is closest).
    2. Maximum domestic and international daily rates for meals are based on published U.S. per diem rates using: the General Services Administration for domestic rates; the Department of Defense rates for Hawaii, Alaska, and other U.S. territories and possessions; and the State Department rates for foreign destinations. Full per diem is allowed on full days of travel.  A partial day’s travel meal per diem will be prorated according to the time and meal charts below, allowing 20 percent of the meal allowance for breakfast, 30 percent for lunch, and 50 percent for dinner. Any meal cost over domestic or international limits will be at the traveler's expense.

      On date of departure the traveler must leave prior to:
       6:00 a.m. To claim breakfast
       11:00 a.m. To claim lunch
       5:30 p.m. To claim dinner

      On date of return the traveler must return after:
      8:00 a.m. To claim breakfast
      1:00 p.m. To claim lunch
      7:30 p.m. To claim dinner
    3. Shared meals. If meals for other UI employees are paid by the traveler, the cost of the meal must be split among all university employees using the split expense functionality within ProTrav. If the individual(s) is (are) not a university employee(s), the name and affiliation must be provided.
    4. Taxable meals. Meal costs reimbursed to university employees for non-overnight trips will be subject to withholding and reported as taxable income in accordance with Internal Revenue Service regulations. The cumulative taxable amount and the amount withheld will be reported on the W2 form mailed at the end of the year. If the traveler is not requesting reimbursement for overnight accommodations, please indicate so on the TEV.
    5. Business meals while in travel status. Business meals while in travel status are allowed only if non-UI employees are involved in the meal. Meetings with only UI employees are limited to actual costs up to the maximum per diem for that city. The cost of the meal must be split among all university employees using the split expense functionality within ProTrav. The name and business affiliations of the non-UI travelers and purpose of the meeting/meal must be provided. This meal claim is subject to food and beverage purchasing guidelines (see V-11.25a).
  9. Registration fees. Registration fees should be paid by procurement card or e-voucher. Registration receipts showing proof of payment are required. Details of the conference or meeting agenda must be included with the TEV. Specifically, documentation showing which meals are provided should be included. If no official receipt is provided, copies of both sides of canceled checks are acceptable receipts for registration fees.
  10. Other expenses. Itemize each charge by date and explain the charge in the description field. Allowable items may include:
    1. Tips. Maid and baggage tips should be reasonable amounts; itemize by date and indicate the purpose or the person to whom paid in the description column. Meal tips must be included in the cost of meals.
    2. Baggage expense. Itemize by date and explain in the description column whether the charge is for storage or transportation.
    3. Telephone. Itemize university-related business calls by date.
    4. Traveler's checks. The cost of traveler's checks is an allowable item unless reimbursement is from Department of Defense or National Aeronautics and Space Administration contract and grant funds awarded to the university.
  11. Charges not allowed. Charges not allowed include personal insurance, personal phone calls, baggage insurance, laundry, entertainment, valet, alcohol, airline club memberships, extended leg room accommodations on airlines, pre-set selection (unless required by the airline), and other items as determined by the Travel Department. Exceptions to any items on this list would need to be justified by the traveler and approved by the Travel Department.
  12. Travel charges on University of Iowa procurement cards. All allowable travel expenses may be charged to a university procurement card. Procurement cards may be obtained for any UI employee who travels on a regular basis for university business.
  13. Foreign travel.
    1. Policies and rates for meals and lodging approved by the U.S. Department of State are to be followed unless university department or external funding sponsor regulations are more restrictive. Receipts for hotel, car rental, registration, and other transportation are always required to substantiate the actual cost. Other receipts are required only for expenses $75 and greater.
    2. The traveler may be reimbursed at up to 150 percent of the per diem rate approved by U.S. Department of State only if justified as essential due to special circumstances and approved by the appropriate university officials and the Travel Department in advance of travel. Exceptions not authorized in advance of travel may be considered and authorized by the Travel Department only after careful review and consideration of any unanticipated costs. The traveler must provide an explanation of the extenuating circumstances and original receipts supporting all lodging and meal expenditures. Reimbursements in excess of the U.S. Department of State rates will not be approved if prohibited by granting agency regulations.
    3. Currency conversion. All expenses must be itemized and reported in U.S. currency on the travel expense voucher. Rates of exchange may be obtained from the Travel web page or at a local financial institution. The exchange rate and source must be referenced on the voucher. The required receipts should be attached to the travel expense voucher and individually labeled (hotel, meal, taxi, etc.) and converted to the U.S. dollar equivalent.
  14. Travel incentive programs. University employees may participate in certain air travel and lodging discounts and incentive programs for their own individual travel, but do so subject to the understanding that any volume rebates or other incentives earned are the property of the university and should be used on business travel. No reimbursement is allowed for the "value" of travel incentives or certificates for which there was no cash outlay.
  15. Group/team travel. University of Iowa group/team travel is subject to University travel policies and meal and lodging allowances. Exceptions will be made to the standard individual cash advance policy. An amount large enough to reasonably cover meal and miscellaneous expenses for the group/team will be allowed. Hotel expenses should be charged to a University procurement card or direct billed whenever possible and should not be included in the cash advance request unless no other payment method is available. Group/team airfare other than charter air should be purchased through one of the University's preferred travel agencies (see V-22.3a) and charged to a UI procurement card whenever possible. This should be done in order to obtain discounts and additional insurance coverage provided by the university's airline and credit card agreement(s). When an outside travel agency must be used or provides documented cost savings, airfare should be charged to the procurement card or paid directly to the agency via a non P.O. voucher and invoice. Exceptions to meal limits will be allowed for student group travel when it is necessary to keep students in one location. Prepaid cash advances will not be allowed for group/team air travel charged to personal charge cards.
  16. Persons other than faculty and staff. Persons traveling on university business other than faculty and staff are subject to the same regulations as faculty and staff.
  17. Travel under externally sponsored agreements. In addition to compliance with university travel regulations, travel funded under externally sponsored agreements (contracts, grants, and other awards) is often subject to additional regulations of the sponsoring organization(s).

    For example, travel under federally sponsored agreements generally follows the cost principles set out in the Office of Management and Budget Uniform Guidance, 2 CFR 200. Federal agencies are required to incorporate these costs principles into their policy guidelines. Some agencies, such as the Public Health Service and the National Science Foundation, have delegated authority to grantee institutions to approve non-budgeted travel. Sponsoring organizations may restrict the use of funds for certain types of travel or require sponsor approval under specific sponsored agreements. In most instances, travel restrictions are set out under the special terms and conditions section on the award notification or agreement for both federal and non-federal sponsors. In general, under federally sponsored agreements, personnel must use U.S. flag air carriers for international air transportation. Questions pertaining to externally sponsored travel should be directed to the accountant specified on the university's Award Activation Authorization Notice accompanying the notice of award from the sponsoring organization.
  18. Third-party reimbursements. University travelers occasionally receive travel reimbursements from third-party sources. It is the traveler's and department's responsibility to assure that these funds are deposited to UI accounts when those expenses have been paid directly by the university via procurement card or other means or have already been reimbursed via a university travel voucher.